Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Letter To A Good Book

My Dearest Book, My Beloved,

I know I have left you alone for a long time now. Before you give up on me completely, let me explain.

My actions, I understand, are hurtful. It is only natural that you feel abandoned; it would be odd if you didn't. I have abandoned you--in the way you conceive of abandonment. I have left you alone. I haven't taken you out in a long time. I have barely touched you, and when I have thought of you, it has always been with the heaviness that comes of imagining how hard it will be to console you, and to reestablish an ease and peacefulness between us. You are too smart and know me way too well for me to hide this from you--your telepathy sees through my defenses and excuses, my sophistries and lies. I can't hide from you--nor do I really want to, no matter what I may say to myself some mornings. I want you; you know it. We can both count on that.

But that is unfair! you say. That lets you off so easily.

I know. I want to see how much I can get away with. You know that.

Stop it! I'm too smart...

I know what you're going to say. That it isn't enough for you to be the only one who really knows me--that's for teenagers. But you are the one who really knows me; I'm the one who is trying to know you. That's no easy task. You keep telling me you are simple, but I find you as complex as they come. You seem all over the place to me. Your looks, your mood, your tone, your behavior--everything has changed in the time I've known you. You are a challenge! Yes, I want that. Yes, that attracts me. I want to know you as well as you know me. When that happens, I believe other people will see us as a couple that couldn't be kept apart, in spite of the difficulty it took for us to be together. We have to be brave. You have to be brave enough to wait for me. I have to be brave enough to set everything else aside for you. Together we have to be brave enough to do what is necessary to become as one. We have to lock ourselves in a room. We have to put each other first.

I know this. I want this. But I am not ready.

Please, Book, try to understand. I knew I wouldn't be able to give you the attention you deserve during the semester, that too many other responsibilities would keep us apart. I have also learned that spending time with you under those conditions doesn't work out well. I am too distracted, and can't keep all of you in mind, as you deserve. You deserve, merit, require my full and undivided attention. When I cannot give it to you, when I can only touch part of you, I get confused. I start to pull you apart. I rage at you. I want to stay away on purpose! You, of course, feel all of this, and you ask for an explanation of my behavior. I, in turn, get frustrated. Why are you so impatient? Haven't I told you you are the most important book in my life? Haven't I promised I will never leave you? Haven't I assured you I am always thinking of you even if I can't be with you? Why can't you remember my reassurances? It's me who has the problem, not you. I need to work it out. Yes, I do feel better when I am with you. But from here to there is a long way--or so it feels. My better self knows it is not.

I know you wanted to spend time together on Christmas. Well, I'm sorry. But Book--don't you know that we will have our Christmases together in the future? Please have faith in me. I love you, even if I don't always say so.

My dearest Book, we love each other most, and therefore want most from the other. You behave toward me the way you want me to behave toward you, and vice versa. You ask for more of my attention, greater consistency, whereas I want to be carefree with you, and come and go as I please. Pick you up and put you down on my time, not yours. Yes, I could reach out to you everyday, if only in a sentence--but I don't want to! Not now. I want to be with you without care--freely! I know you think these are my terms, but they are a luxury for me, and I appreciate them. You are so steadfast. 

Listen, Book--I've never had what we have. Never trusted any book to do this for me. Always felt like I had to perform in order to be safe and loved. You love me deeply enough and are courageous enough to grant me this space. I know it is a lot to ask--especially as you legitimately need me to be with you. I understand. You say you will never be able to reach your potential--we will never reach ours--under those conditions. I know you are right, even if I argue against that. I will do things with you, make you central, take you to bed with me, even if I protest that I won't. Just not yet. Please let me do things my way for now without putting up a fight. I have never been able to do that before. My file drawers are filled with books that have left me, or that I have left because I was afraid they were going to betray me. Please let me have a long leash right now, knowing you are with me. I really am with you and you alone. I may entertain the idea of other projects, but that doesn't mean what you think it does. I am wholly yours.

Book, it has taken me a long time to begin to see you clearly, and I am not there yet. I am trying. I was scared of you for years, because I knew you'd demand of me what I've never done before; to tell the truth. But you--you give me the strength to do what should be done--what I have always wanted to do. Do you have any idea what that means to me? Of course you do. Maybe better than I know it myself. You are so often ahead of me.

Book, I know you want to be with me now. I promise I will spend some time with you during this break. I want to tell you about Aristotle's Poetics, which I just reread. It applies to us. Let me show you what I mean about this. Let's draw a map together, all right? Won't that be fun for us? I want to do something to make you happy. Something you can live off of for...a while.

We have so much between us, so much feeling, so much comprehension, so much love. Trust me. I'll work this out. Soon it will be all about us. Don't pay attention to anything you may hear about me. You know me. You get me. I will get you, too, I promise. That's all that matters.

Love, Your Person


  1. Alice,

    You couldn't possibly have written this unless you were very close to diving in completely. This sounds like mad love to me.



  2. I love this so much I am Facebooking it. Thank you, AE.